7 Surprising, Helpful Benefits of Talking to Yourself

October 9, 2019 | Episode #54
Contrary to what many think, thinking out loud isn't strange or unusual! We'll discuss 7 surprising, helpful benefits of talking to yourself.

Contrary to what many think, thinking out loud isn’t strange or unusual! We’ll discuss 7 surprising, helpful benefits of talking to yourself.

But first, a quick hack for organizing business cards!

How to Organize Business Cards: Take Photos of Them!

Make Work Easier

I never take business cards from folks anymore. I don’t like having the bits of paper to keep track of,  Now, whenever someone hands me one, I pull out my phone and snap a photo of it.

I always say to the person, “I’m going to take a photo, and this way you have an extra card to give out to others!” Then, I hand them their card back.

Plus, as we’ll talk about in a minute, all of my phone’s photos are automatically uploaded to Google Photos. And when there, I add business card photos to a specific album so they stay organized.

Keep Them Organized in an Album

Every time I take a photo of a card, I flip into Google Photos. As soon as it’s uploaded, I add it to a Business Cards album I’ve created.

You can search “Business Cards” in Google Photos, and the app does pretty well at finding everything. But, to be 100% sure I’ve got them all, I always toss them into that album.

Speaking of Google Photos…

My Favorite Things : Work

If you’re not already using Google Photos, you really should be.

google photos logo

Grab this amazing, free tool from either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. You can also visit the browser app by heading here.

Why I Love Google Photos

Here’s a quick list of reasons why I love this tool:

  • It automatically backs up every photo I take on my phone
    • Never worry about losing your photos again! They’re safely in the cloud, so even if that phone takes a dip in the ocean, you’ll still have ’em!
  • If you go with the optimized setting (meaning Google compresses the photos a bit), you get unlimited free storage!
  • Google Photos also will notify you when there are photos on your phone that have already been backed up. It’ll give you an option to Free Up Space, which removes them from your phone!
    • They’re up in the cloud permanently, so there’s really no need to keep them on your device. Free up that space!
    • The only exception here is if you’re constantly battling a bad connection (WiFi and/or data). If that’s the case, don’t remove them.
  • It’s searchable! For all kinds of things actually!
    • People
    • Pets
    • Locations
    • Business cards
  • Shared albums are super easy to create and use. Very useful if you like sharing photos with others.
  • Google Photos comes with some basic, but very handy editing tools

A Couple of Minor Issues

  • First, the editing tools are fairly basic. If you need something more robust, this isn’t your app
  • Also, if you take more… mmm… sensitive (read: NSFW) photos on your phone, there’s no good option for ensuring they’re truly hidden. You can archive photos, but they may still appear in search results. Not good if you’re trying to show your coworker the photo of you and your partner on vacation… ;?

7 Surprising, Helpful Benefits of Talking to Yourself

Make Life Easier

There’s a strange stigma around talking to yourself, even though I’m pretty sure most of us do it from time to time.

I actually “think out loud” very often; I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. And, I’ve noticed that, for me, there really are serious benefits of talking to yourself.

Truthfully, I credit the conversational tone of this podcast to the fact that I talk to myself all the time! I’ve got a lot of practice, so it was natural to keep doing it, even with a microphone in front of my face.

Two Types of Self-talk

There are two common categories when it comes to talking to yourself, also known as self-talk:

  1. Instructional: Talking yourself through a task or process
  2. Motivational: Saying things to yourself like, “You can do this!”

Benefits of Talking to Yourself #1: Improved Focus

I find that thinking out loud helps me narrow my focus, especially with complex, creative tasks. It really does force me to stay on track because I can only say one thing at a time.

For tasks with a multi-step sequence, talking to yourself out loud can help you keep out distractions and remind yourself where you are. (Source)

Benefits of Talking to Yourself #2: Increased Attention Span

Because I’m more focused, I can keep my attention laser-focused for longer. My brain isn’t able to wander because I’m concentrating on what I’m saying.

As a result, I’m better able to stay on track for longer periods of time.

Benefits of Talking to Yourself #3: Better Problem Solving

Ultimately, #1 and #2 lead to much better problem solving. When I’m focused for long stretches, I can get a ton accomplished.

Benefits of Talking to Yourself #4: Improved Ability to Comprehend Instructions

Here’s a snippet from a CNN articled entitled The Surprising Benefits of Talking to Yourself:

We gave 28 participants a set of written instructions, and asked to read them either silently or out loud. We measured participants’ concentration and performance on the tasks, and both were improved when task instructions had been read aloud.

Much of this benefit appears to come from simply hearing oneself, as auditory commands seem to be better controllers of behavior than written ones. Our results demonstrated that, even if we talk to ourselves to gain control during challenging tasks, performance substantially improves when we do it out loud.

Benefits of Talking to Yourself #5: Objectivity

If you’ve ever found it help to vent to someone else, you know how well it works. It help declutter your mind, organize your thoughts, and ultimately bring objectivity to the situation.

Turns out, the same goes for venting to yourself.

Referencing a New York Times article entitled The Benefits of Talking to Yourself:

Research from the University of Michigan found that those who worked through their stress about giving a speech about their qualifications using “you” rather than “I” performed better and were less tormented by anxiety and self-doubt.

They found that when their subjects talked about themselves in the second or third person — for example, “You can do this” or “Jane can do this” instead of “I can do this” — not only did they feel less anxiety while performing, but their peers also rated their performances better. Mr. Kross said this was because of self-distancing: focusing on the self from the distanced perspective of a third person, even though that person is you

Also, from a Universe of Memory post on the same topic, “When people think of themselves as another person, ‘it allows them to give themselves objective, helpful feedback’.”

Benefits of Talking to Yourself #6: Self-reflection

This is a big one, and truly goes hand-in-hand with Episode 33: How to Live with Purpose w/ Brendan Gallagher and Episode 34: More on Living With Purpose: 5 Simple Strategies to Try

I’d actually update Episode #34 to include thinking out loud as a sixth self-reflection strategy!

Based on benefits 1-5 above, you can dedicate reflection time specifically for thinking out loud. As we’ve discussed, it’s good for focus, problem solving, and objectivity.

Language provides us with this tool to gain distance from our own experiences when we’re reflecting on our lives. And that’s really why it’s useful,” said Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. (Source)

Benefits of Talking to Yourself #7: Stress Relief

Finally, just being able to vent, especially without the worry of someone else judging what I say or offering up their opinion, is a great way to de-stress.

I can work through my emotions, especially when I’m frustrated or annoyed, when I think things through out loud. And, it has a pretty similar effect as venting to someone else without… someone else!

KitchenIQ Knife Sharpener

My Favorite Things : Life

I absolutely love my KitchenIQ knife sharpener!

kitcheniq 2 stage knife sharpener

Here’s why I love it:

  • It works. Period.
  • It’s stupid cheap.
  • It’s safe.
  • It actually sharpens!
    • Based on Alton Brown’s explanation of honing vs. sharpening, this tool sharpens the blade
    • Honing: Using a honing steel to realign the blade
    • Sharpening: Bits of the blade are shaved off to create a new edge
    • More on this at Kitchn

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What’s Next?

Take Advil for Emotional Pain?

Take Advil for Emotional Pain?

Gretchen & Elizabeth, in ep. 97 of Happier with Gretchen Rubin, suggest that you can take Advil to help soothe emotional pain.

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